The smartphone is more than just a communication device. It is our most-personal computer. More than half of all consumers check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up. Ten percent of Americans check their phones at some point during the night, which isn't that surprising once you know that as many as 71% of people sleep with or next to their cell phones. Given consumers' cozy relationship with mobile devices, it is essential that marketers not only have a mobile marketing strategy, but also factor in the highly personal nature of mobile interactions. And with the holiday shopping - and marketing - season upon us, the time has never been better to improve your mobile marketing approach.

For the first time ever, this year's holiday sales are poised to exceed $100 billion. And online sales are predicted to increase almost 14% over last year. Though desktop still dominates online shopping, the rapid growth of mobile is closely correlated with the overall growth in online sales. While shoppers may not make the bulk of their online purchases via mobile, they are highly likely to research on mobile before making a purchase. So, it simply makes sense that being a part of consumers' path to purchase will give your marketing a boost this holiday season.

1. Mobilize your content

The first step is to ensure that your site is mobile friendly (which is no small undertaking, but essential given how many people are mobile-first, if not mobile-only). In terms of mobile-specific efforts, however, you want to ensure that your messages work on a small screen. Headlines, for example, need to be short and prompt action. Overall, content marketing delivered via mobile should be shorter and highly visual.

Consider creating a mobile-specific gift guide. In fact, this might be a good time to test video, or create a slideshow in order to deliver the most value on a small screen. For those not in a retail business, a similar approach can be used for holiday tips that meet your customers' specific needs. The goal is to attract and engage audiences and leave them with that sense of well-being that we are all looking for around the holidays.

2. Let's make a deal.

Who doesn't like a good deal? And, it turns out that bargain hunting actually gives people a boost in self-esteem so don't miss an opportunity to create a feel-good moment, particularly around the holidays. As part of your holiday marketing, create opt-in opportunities that let customers sign up to receive alerts, special offers, and rewards.

One strategy is to create a fear of missing out (FOMO) via subscriber- or members-only offerings that are mobile-optimized. More than a third of shoppers say that email remains their favorite way to receive an offer on their mobile device and it should not be ignored. With text messages - SMS - increasingly used as means to deliver timely offers, it is essential to know the rules of text marketing. User permission is a prerequisite and understanding the optimal frequency is essential for success. And with text messaging, you must know your customer very well to create messages that will feel appropriate in this intimate channel.

3. Get personal

Given the personal connection that consumers have with their mobile devices, it is optimal to take a personalized approach to mobile marketing. Not every marketer will have reams of data at their fingertips. However, all marketers can begin with an empathetic approach. Having a clear picture of your customers and their needs and concerns is always the right place to start. At the holidays, a sense of understanding, belonging, comfort and convenience are always welcome.

On mobile, however, the most effective marketing goes even further. It almost becomes one-to-one communication (or should feel that way). Thus, it is optimal to create the most specific customer profiles possible. Find opportunities to ask consumers about themselves, such as when they are signing up to receive special offers. Be transparent about why you are asking for the information and make it clear that they only need provide as much as they feel comfortable with.

The membership approach can be particularly effective in creating a cross-channel personalization strategy. If membership has privileges, as the slogan goes, it can be based upon a log-in that allows for interest and purchase tracking. Given that your customer has explicitly chosen to join, they'll be pleased that offers and experiences are tailored to their behaviors.

It is impossible to overlook the impact mobile is having on consumers' communication, content, and commerce behaviors. And these "three cs" provide the perfect storm of opportunity to create an effective holiday mobile marketing campaign. Give your customers the gift of understanding and meaningful messages this year, delivered when and where they want and need them. Then look forward to creating a connection that lasts all year long.

Published on: Nov 17, 2017